Project Development Explained: How It Works at ElifTech
Any project that’s outsourced to an offshore team starts from a clearly defined point, operates within a set timeframe, and has a clearly defined scope.
For example, if your project involves building an app, you’ll likely have a set of specifications and requirements that need to be met by the end user for it to be considered successful. When it comes to making an app, your team will likely have a set of specifications in place that they need to follow for the end product to function properly. In this example, you’re outsourcing a specific task or project with clearly defined requirements and expectations.
Projects can be complex, but a well-planned approach makes them manageable. The key to successful project execution is planning, strategic thinking, and accurate implementation. While it’s important to plan for a project, it’s equally as important to have the right team in place. This can be challenging if you’re trying to manage a large-scale project on your own or with a small group of people.
Outsourcing software development can help eliminate some of the stress, while also providing access to highly skilled resources that would otherwise be impossible to find within your company. Outsourcing can be a good idea for any business, but it’s especially beneficial for companies that are trying to grow quickly.
If you’re working on a project and need help managing the workload, then outsourcing software development is a strategy worth considering.
Project Development vs. Project Management: Key Differences
Before we dive into discussing project development, it's essential to understand that some terms cannot be used interchangeably: project development and project management. Despite the seemingly obvious differences, misunderstandings between the terms often occur.
Project development encompasses the technical process of bringing a project to life, which includes stages such as product discovery, UI/UX design, development, and testing. Project management, on the other hand, focuses on planning, organizing, and controlling resources and tasks to ensure a project stays on track in terms of time, budget, and goals.
While project development deals with the "how" and "what" of implementation, project management handles the "who," "when," and "where." Project development is tech-oriented, while project management oversees the whole project process, from scheduling to risk management, ensuring a successful delivery.
If you're looking for more details to understand how project management works in practice, read our guide on the project management flow at ElifTech.
Phase 1: Pre-Discovery Stage
As the ship is steered, so it will sail. In our case, the project's nature and progress depend on how well we set goals, assess project feasibility, and explore its implementation. Thus, in this phase, we concentrate on initial brainstorming, idea collection, and formation of basic objectives. Therefore, we don’t overlook or underestimate this step.
Custom software development starts receiving the initial input from a customer. Once we've gathered these requirements, we analyze them to create a detailed breakdown of the projected work. This breakdown helps us understand the effort needed, decide on feature priorities, and handle potential limitations more effectively.
At this stage, we also roughly estimate the entire project so a customer better understands the journey ahead. For example, with an estimated project duration of 33 days, we plan to allocate a team consisting of a project manager, a front-end developer, a back-end developer, and a UI/UX designer. Based on resource costs and other expenses, the estimated budget for the project falls within the range of $15,000 to $20,000.
Phase 2: Discovery Stage
In the dynamic and ever-evolving world of software development, bringing a compelling product to market necessitates more than just a groundbreaking idea. Before the journey of the actual development phase kicks off, we encounter what is arguably the most crucial stage, which is Product Discovery. So, what is product discovery and why is it paramount to your software development journey?
Fundamentally, product discovery is defined as the initial stage of a software development process that aims at shaping a vision into a feasible product. The fundamental premise behind this process is to ensure that the right product is being developed for the right audience, at the right time.
Whether you are a newly-born startup with a revolutionary idea or an established business considering new growth opportunities, the product discovery phase is your strategic roadmap to success. It allows you to transform unique ideas into interactive products, identify potential challenges and opportunities, and lay out a strategic plan for future actions.
The process typically kicks off with dissecting and analyzing the initial idea against business objectives and the broader market landscape. Success metrics are then established to ensure that every development phase aligns with the business goals. The next step involves defining a feature set that resonates with the target audience and sets the product apart in the marketplace.
Additional steps involve initial market and competitor analysis, establishing technical requirements, wireframing and prototyping, clearly defining business goals, conducting user research, and finally, roadmap planning.
Product discovery primarily aims to reduce ambiguities and define clear project requirements at an early stage to ensure ideal resource distribution, eliminate potential risks, and help businesses steer clear from unforeseen challenges, thereby, reducing time and cost overruns.
The product discovery process reduces risks by exploring and validating product ideas to steer clear of potential pitfalls. It facilitates user validation to ensure that products align with the needs of potential users, keeps development costs in check, and aids in establishing clear and concise project goals.
Product discovery is more than just a phase. It is an essential practice that guides the course of software development, transforms ideas into functional products, minimizes risks, and paves the way for success.
Phase 3: Project Development
Project development is where the actual work of implementing the development project takes place. Designers, developers, and other specialists collaborate to bring the project to life while following the plan established in the previous phase.
In the digital marketplace, the saying "first impressions last" couldn’t be more crucial. With abundant options just a click away, businesses must deliver an extraordinary first impression to engage and retain users.
UI/UX design is about making each touchpoint on a user's digital journey feel intuitive, enjoyable, and engaging. With a dual focus on aesthetics and functionality, UI/UX design aims to build memorable user journeys that successfully intertwine business objectives with user satisfaction.
Market and User Research
Plunging into a design without knowing the market and users is like setting sail without a compass. Hence, UI/UX design begins with careful market research and exhaustive user research. It aims to uncover industry trends, understand competition, and identify user preferences, needs, and pain points, all of which guide the subsequent design decisions.
User Flow & Navigation
A well-thought-out user flow and navigation design is the backbone of any successful UI/UX design. It mandates intuitive interaction and smooth navigation across the platform. It strives to anticipate and fulfill user needs, making their journey enjoyable and hassle-free.
Visual Prototyping and User Testing
Creating high-fidelity prototypes brings design ideas to life. These prototypes provide an accurate preview of your product's interface and user experience. They offer an avenue for early user testing and enable validation in a realistic context.
Usability testing is about spotting and rectifying gaps in your digital interfaces. By ensuring the design is intuitive and user-friendly, it paves the way for a seamless user experience.
UI Concepts and Design Systems
UI concepts visualize product ideas and lay a foundation for the entire design project. Meanwhile, design systems are collections of reusable components guided by clear standards. They ensure the product's consistency and cohesion, enhancing both efficiency and user satisfaction.
The UI/UX design extends beyond general principles—it's customizable and meets unique requirements.
For instance, with web design, we focus on designing captivating experiences through fluid user journeys that boost user engagement and aid brand recognition. Website redesign services keep your business relevant and competitive as trends evolve.
We also offer product design services that include feature analysis, UI design, user journeys and UX design, and product redesign. An integral part of this service is MVP (Minimum Viable Product) design, which respects the Pareto principle—designing MVPs that are lean, efficient, and prepared for market testing.
Mobile app design services cater to users who enjoy interacting via their smartphones. Prototyping and testing, as well as mobile app redesign, form crucial parts of this service.
Finally, landing page design services focus on making compelling first impressions, given that the landing page is often the user's initial encounter with a brand.
Companies big and small, from startups to established businesses, are harnessing the power of software to differentiate their offerings and gain competitive advantages.
Software development is not about merely writing code. It is about engineering digital solutions that solve real-world problems, enhance operational efficiency, and deliver value to the end users. It's about transforming a business idea, leveraging an array of technologies, and making it a software reality.
We take an integrative approach to the software development journey, empowering businesses with crucial tech solutions through agile development methodologies, deploying the best tools, and utilizing a custom tech stack.
Web and Mobile App Development
In the times of mobile-first strategies and cross-platform integration, web and mobile app development services are indispensable for businesses wanting to connect with their audience in a meaningful way.
We help in building strong bonds with your target audience and enhancing their customer experience through scalable web apps and cutting-edge mobile applications, powered by the latest product features. A well-developed mobile app can significantly enhance user engagement and brand loyalty. Native mobile apps provide unmatched performance, seamless user experience, and easy access to device features. Hybrid and cross-platform apps, built using frameworks such as React Native or Flutter, enable faster time-to-market and simplified code maintenance.
Custom Software Product Development
Off-the-shelf software products may not always cater to the specific needs of a business. Custom software development ensures the creation of bespoke solutions, tailored to fulfill unique requirements and business objectives.
Custom software provides the flexibility to adapt and expand as a business grows, seamlessly accommodating evolving user needs and new feature integrations.
By addressing niche requirements and incorporating innovative ideas, custom software brings forth a competitive edge that allows businesses to differentiate themselves in the market.
Moreover, custom-built software minimizes security risks, as they are designed to withstand potential vulnerabilities specific to a business's operations, and generally face less frequent targeting by hackers compared to popular software solutions.
AI Software Product Development
We use AI to improve business security, cut costs, and lower the probability of errors while helping businesses focus on the bigger picture through effortless high-level analytics.
AI integration into software development has become instrumental in solving complex business problems and maximizing efficiency. AI-driven software can automate repetitive tasks, streamline processes, and elevate overall business efficiency. Machine learning algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data in real time, providing insights and predictions that empower better decision-making for businesses.
From chatbots to personalized recommendations, AI integration into web and mobile applications contributes to more tailored user experiences, driving customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Phase 4: QA and Testing
Crucial for ensuring a bug-free, reliable product delivery, testing is an extensive process ensuring that the software performs optimally under varying conditions.
We adopt strict guidelines for coding standards, carrying out regular code reviews for maintaining clean and efficient code. The dedicated QA (Quality Assurance) team conducts rigorous testing at every phase of development. It ensures that the software is bug-free, performs as expected, and upholds the highest usability standards.
Refreshing development practices, we implement agile methodologies that permit the product's incremental building. This approach leads to swift adaptations to changes, in-depth testing of every feature, and a timely delivery of an impressive, high-functioning product. The team also uses Continuous Integration practices to streamline the development process, reduce probability of risks, and ensure a product that quickly updates with the latest improvements.
This stage is an interactive one, fostering close collaboration between the team and the customer throughout the developmental journey. By integrating customer feedback and making necessary adjustments, the final product aligns precisely with the client's vision and expected standard.
Phase 5: Project Launch
Launching a product is an equally, if not more, challenging process as developing it. The launch strategy can make or break a product’s success. Our team recognizes this and ensures the launch of your product is meticulously planned out.
Before deploying the product live, a thorough review is conducted. This includes checking alignment with the client's requirements, ensuring all features are functioning as intended, and making last-minute optimizations.
The product launch is executed as per the planned strategy. Depending on the software type, it might involve making the website live, release of a mobile application on app stores, or deployment of custom software in the client’s environment. The goal is to ensure a smooth transition from testing to live use.
After the product's launch, the team continues to monitor its performance closely. This proactive approach helps spot and resolve any issues users might face promptly.
Post-launch, the development team remains in standby, ready to make improvements, updates, or add new features based on evolving user needs and feedback. This continuous improvement approach helps businesses remain competitive and maintain customer satisfaction.
Phase 6: Project Closing
Project closing is the phase where the project formally concludes. It involves a series of key tasks such as the official handover of deliverables, the release of project resources, documentation of lessons learned, acknowledgment of contributions from team members, and sometimes even an official project closing ceremony.
In the landscape of project management, "deliverables" is quite the buzzword. Ensuring deliverables are consistently met, and to high quality is integral to project success and client satisfaction. While deliverables could be an end product itself, like a software platform or marketing plan, they could also be components contributing to the end product such as a progress report or a design prototype.
At this stage, the final product or service is officially handed over to the client. This process is transparent and methodical, leaving no room for confusion about what was delivered and its alignment with the client's expectations. Successfully delivering the pre-determined deliverables is the cornerstone of meeting client expectations. Deliverables are more than just the final product or service— they represent milestones and checkpoints in the project management process.
Upon project closure, all human and material resources that were assigned to the project are officially released. Timely release of resources is important to avoid unnecessary costs and to prepare these resources for their possible allocation to another project. All project documents, including project plans, designs, change logs, and other related documents, are collected, finalized, and transferred to a client.
Essentials of Successful Project Development
Successful project development is an intricate balance of various linked elements. From a deep understanding of the project scope to efficient team collaboration, from risk management to stakeholder communication, the puzzle of project success isn't complete without these crucial pieces.
Foster Open Communication
We believe open communication is a foundation for any successful project. We encourage team members to openly discuss project progress, challenges, and ideas. This creates an atmosphere of trust and transparency where everyone feels heard and valued. Regular meetings and communication tools ensure that everyone stays in the loop, keeping the project on track and aligned with its goals.
Clear Understanding of Project Scope
The project scope outlines the project's boundaries—it details what is included in the project and what is not. It includes project goals, tasks, deadlines, deliverables, and costs. Developing a detailed project scope before the project's start aids in setting realistic expectations and defines the pathway of project activities.
Embracing agility is part of our approach. Agile methodologies, such as Scrum or Kanban, empower teams to adapt swiftly. We break tasks into small parts, each with its goals and key results. This flexible approach allows us to build the product step by step, focusing on important features and finding ways to make it better along the way.
Build an Experienced Team
Building a talented team is essential, thus we carefully select team members, equipped with a wide range of expertise, ensuring that all aspects of project development are covered. We promote cross-functional collaboration, allowing team members to leverage their strengths and knowledge. However, we always keep doing more by investing in continuous learning and professional development to keep the team's skills up-to-date and sharp – the results always positively surprise us.
We establish feedback loops to gather valuable insights from multiple perspectives, helping us strike a golden balance. We act on feedback promptly to make necessary adjustments and improvements, demonstrating our commitment to meeting user needs. The voice of users directly informs the project's direction and evolution.
How Much Does Outsourcing Software Development Cost?
The cost of project development is not always clear from the start, as it can vary. The main cost factors include:
- Product complexity (Complex products with advanced features and design practices tend to be more expensive to develop)
- Features and functionality (The scope of features)
- Teck stack
- Development team location
- Specific requirements in terms of performance, security, and scalability can add to the development cost.
- Third-party integrations. If your product requires integration with third-party services or platforms, this can impact the budget.
- Product type (whether it's a web application or mobile app)
- Engagement model (Team extension or a dedicated team)
How Long Does Software Project Development Take?
The same principles apply to estimating timelines. The duration of project development can fluctuate based on several factors, including:
- The product's complexity
- The size of the development team
- The chosen technology stack
- The development methodology
On average, a simple small-sized project with a small team and commonly used technology may take around 4-6 months to complete. Conversely, a more complex project with a huge scope of work, involving a larger team and advanced technology might extend to a year or more.
We can provide you with a more accurate estimate by reviewing and addressing specific details of your project.
The path to successful project development is carved out by a blend of strategic elements. An unambiguous understanding of the project scope sets the project's direction, while a comprehensive project plan provides the roadmap for its journey. Successful project development depends heavily on effective team collaboration, where diverse skills and expertise are harnessed towards a collective goal. Regular progress monitoring keeps the project in check, ensuring it adheres to its schedule and budget while maintaining the quality of deliverables to boost client satisfaction. These multifaceted elements together provide an orchestration that guides the project to deliver its intended value and attain overall success.